Sunday February 4th saw the latest iteration of the John Tracey Dungarvan 10 mile road race.  I had heard good things about this event over the years – a well organised event with a very nice t-shirt from a well known sports brand (no free advertising here).  There is also usually a high quality field which is nice to see.  I’m never sure how to race 10 milers as I find it a bit of a funny distance and there are not too many races at this distance – oddly enough Trim had its own 10 mile race on the same day which I found strange.  Having not mastered the art of being in two places at once I made up my mind and signed up to Dungarvan which is organised by West Waterford Athletic Club.

Poor forward planning meant I was on the road to Waterford on the morning of the race for an 11am start.  I found the drive long and would probably stay over the night before if I were to do it again.  Arriving in Dungarvan in good time, I was disappointed but not surprised to find a gusty but dry morning.  This event is indeed well organised and after a good warm up we were under way at 11am sharp.

Disappointingly, there was only 1 other Sportworld contender and that was Gareth Murran whom I spotted on the start line a few yards ahead of me.  The start of the race winds its way through Dungarvan town before heading out the main N25 and then turning off onto very pleasant boreens.  Racing is hard.  I felt I was working hard from the get-go and the wind certainly wasn’t helping.  I tried to tuck in with a group and let them take the wind for me, but I think everyone had the same idea.

The groups usually disintegrated quickly and you found yourself either dropped or moving ahead of people. Hitting half way I saw I was under 32 mins which put me on course to run my fastest ever 10 mile.  I had to work hard to run 32 mins for the first half so I was kind of dreading the 2nd half. Will my splits fall off or can I keep this going?  This is where the mental side of the game comes into play.  I starting counting the kms down in my head.  Just 8 km to go Pádraig – keep at it.

Approaching 14km, Gareth appeared out of nowhere on my shoulder and had some welcome words of encouragement which I needed.  Approaching the finish I was doing some sums in my head.  I was confident now I would finish sub 64 min and realised maybe even sub 63 was possible.  Alas it was not to be and I finished with 63.13.  Its my fastest time over that distance – any day you can say that is a good day so I will gladly take it.   Post race I caught up with Gareth and former Sportsworlder Conor Cavanagh who also raced.

Between the three of us we more or less drank and ate everything Dungarvan had to offer that night.  I was sore and sorry the next day but I regret nothing.  Will race Dungarvan again some day God willing.